My mind is a dangerous place. Make sure you wear a cup.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What's in a name?

I have had many names over the tears. Brad. Mr. Fabulous. The Captain. Dorsal. Finny. "That asshole who cut me off".

Often people ask me about my email name: Tjotjog.

I've had it for...hmm...15 years at least?

I was looking for a name no one else would have. I wanted to be unique.

It is pronounced chot-chog.

I had a book (I may still have it somewhere) that chronicled exotic foreign words and their meanings. Or something like that.

In any event, I came upon the word "tjotjog", which is Javanese.

Those wacky Javans. Umm...Javanites? Javanarians?

In any event, some guy named Clifford Geertz can explain the meaning much more eloquently than I can:

"It is only common sense because between ethos and world view, between the approved style of life and the assumed structure of reality, there is conceived to be a simple and fundamental congruence such that they complete one another and lend one another meaning. In Java, for example, this view is summed up in a concept one hears continually invoked, that of tjotjog. Tjotjog means to fit, as a key does in a lock, as an efficacious medicine does to a disease, as a solution does to an arithmetic problem, as a man does with the woman he marries (if he does not, they will divorce). If your opinion agrees with mine we tjotjog; if the meaning of my name fits my character (and if it brings me luck), it is said to be tjotjog. Tasty food, correct theories, good manners, comfortable surroundings, gratifying outcomes are all tjotjog. In the broadest and most abstract sense, two items tjotjog when their coincidence forms a coherent pattern which gives to each a significance and a value it does not in itself have. There is implied here a contrapuntal view of the universe in which that which is important is what natural relationship the separate elements have to one another, how they must be arranged to strike a chord and to avoid a dissonance. And, as in harmony, the ultimately correct relationships are fixed, determinate, and knowable, so religion, like harmony, is ultimately a kind of practical science, producing value out of fact as music is produced out of sound. In its specificity, tjotjog is a peculiarly Javanese idea, but the notion that life takes on its true import when human actions are tuned to cosmic conditions is widespread."

Isn't that cool? I chose it partly because of the cool factor, and partly because of the irony. I am the least harmonious son of a bitch you are likely to meet. I'm a mess. I'm paranoid. I'm conflicted. I'm neurotic.

I'm an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, smothered in secret sauce.

But I've got a cool name.

4 Comments:

Blogger jkirlin said...

I was just saying to another Blogger last night, how jealous I am of the name Mr. Fabulous.

1:17 PM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

I think the World is not tjotjog at all.... Guess we will all have to wait for next life to be tjotjog.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Could you box me up some of your coolness and send it my way? I could use a tad.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

jkirlin--It's not all it's cracked up to be. Sometimes living up to all the fabulousness can be quite a burden.

merlinprincesse--SO true. All we can do is try to make our little corner of the world as tjotjog as we can.

dixie--I'm pretty sure you could give me a run for my money in the coolness department!

2:30 AM  

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